This as National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) constituencies work sectorally and collectively to achieve the country’s earliest possible migration to Level 3.
Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko said President Cyril Ramaphosa had co-chaired a virtual meeting on Friday of the Nedlac constituencies to assess preparations for the step-down from Level 4.
“Today’s meeting was the first in a series of consultations led by the president between government and social partners as well as more specific sectors of civil society on the migration from Level 4 to Level 3 of the lockdown.
“Social partners expressed their support for the risk-adjusted approach South Africa has taken to the reopening of the economy, as well as for the original restrictions put in place to give the country time to prepare the health system for the management of Covid-19 infections.”
Diko said the government, labour, business and community sector were undertaking detailed work to ensure lives would be saved and livelihoods protected as the economy was progressively unlocked and society adapted to the reality of economic activity with coronavirus as an ever-present danger.
She added constituencies reported on their preparations for the step-down to Level 3, which would more than double the current number of people who have returned to work as part of the Level 4 easing of the economy.
“Nedlac also received calls that social and food support be intensified in vulnerable communities; that all businesses comply with Covid-19 safety measures, and that greater funding and other support be extended to community-based organisations.
“More than 1.5 million people are employed by 150 of the community-based organisations that are registered in the country. Business and labour will engage bilaterally to address the challenges giving rise to workers’ concern about their return to the workplace.
“Social partners have agreed on the need for the strengthening and sustainability of prevention measures at workplaces, on public transport and in public places, as elements of a long-term way of life in the midst of Covid-19.
Expand local production
“Nedlac views Level 3 as an opportunity for expanding local production and greater consumption of South African-made goods as part of reversing the economic losses suffered during the national lockdown and as part of the country’s long-term approach to industrialisation and employment.
“As part of supporting the health system, Nedlac wants to see significant production in South Africa of many of the resources, including personal protection equipment, masks, ventilators and thermometers,” said Diko.
Ramaphosa reiterated the progression to Level 3 should be accompanied by the crucial, non-negotiable and practical interventions in the country’s coronavirus prevention toolbox.
Nedlac will continue consulting on preparations for Level 3.
“The president is optimistic that the work done by Nedlac and government’s continued consultation with other formations and sectors could deliver an advance to Level 3 before the end of May 2020.
“These consultations continue tomorrow [Saturday] with a meeting of the president’s co-ordinating council which brings together the national executive, premiers and South African Local Government Association,” Diko said.